Science, Health & Tech

We cover these essential linchpins of the Pittsburgh regional economy, and how they impact residents' personal health and employment. 

“Let’s Move” Campaign Comes to Pittsburgh

Oct 10, 2011

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is joining the campaign launched by First Lady Michelle Obama in February 2010 to encourage healthy eating and increase physical activity by children.

As part of the "Let's Move" campaign, the conservatory is hosting a regional symposium at its facilities to share ideas and actions that help prevent obesity.

Phipps director Richard Piacentini says a conservatory has more to do with children's health than one might think.

Concussion Guidelines Likely to Become State Law

Oct 6, 2011

Legislation establishing a protocol for managing possible concussions in Pennsylvania's student athletes passed the State House unanimously yesterday afternoon and is expected to pass in the Senate soon after it re-convenes October 17th. Among other provisions, it specifies when an athlete must be removed from play and what steps must be taken before he or she is allowed to return.

Cultural Trust Wins Award for “Smart” Parking

Oct 4, 2011

If you've ever been in a rush to see a show in downtown Pittsburgh but can't find a parking space, the free, real-time smartphone application ParkPGH might be able to help.

ParkPGH was awarded the National Transportation Award on Monday. The app provides parking information for 25% of the garages downtown. It calculates the number of open parking spaces in the Cultural District every 30 seconds and delivers the locations to users.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Oct 3, 2011

For this year's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Pittsburgh affiliate is urging women to move beyond awareness and take steps to prevent breast cancer. The slogan is "Less talk, more action."

Knowing Vaccine Logistics Can Save Lives

Oct 3, 2011

New research from the University of Pittsburgh has found that simply adding a new vaccine to an existing supply chain can actually do more harm than good. "If your goal is to get new vaccines out to people with a goal of trying to prevent substantial diseases, you can actually inhibit the flow of other vaccines," said Bruce Lee, M.D, assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology and biomedical informatics at the University of Pittsburgh. "If you don't have enough planning you can inadvertently do more harm than good."

Dr. Steven Cleghorn is an organic farmer from Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. He said his wife has stage four lung cancer.

ACHD: Watch for Suicide Symptoms

Sep 9, 2011

The Allegheny County Health Department is marking World Suicide Prevention Day Saturday by reminding residents just how big of a problem suicide can be.

"Between 2005 and 2008, the Health Department's Child Death Review Team examined 19 suicides countywide involving adolescents 14 to 19 years old or about five a year," said Review Team member Jennifer Fiddner. Suicides account for about 3% of sudden deaths in that age group according to Fiddner

Diesel Emissions In Pittsburgh To Be Monitored

Sep 8, 2011

Starting in January battery-operated monitors will be strapped to telephone and light poles in downtown Pittsburgh to measure diesel pollution. The Allegheny County Board of Health has approved spending $860,000 for the three year study to be conducted by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Jim Thompson, the county Health Department's Air Program Manager, said the goal is to determine when and where diesel emissions are the highest. "Our efforts have been somewhat scattered," said Thompson.

Three Children Infected With Rare Flu Strain

Sep 6, 2011

Cases of a novel flu virus have been identified in three children with ties to the Washington County Fair according to the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Agriculture. The first child to become ill has fully recovered while the other two are still healing. The state has not released any information about the three.

A new civic organization is asking experts and ordinary citizens to weigh in on how natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale has impacted Pennsylvania and its residents.

The Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission will gather public testimony and professional opinions at five late-summer meetings across the state, with the intent of making policy suggestions to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and state lawmakers this October.

Restoring Power in Pennsylvania Could Take All Week

Aug 29, 2011

Power companies are updating their websites with power outage maps, and eastern Pennsylvania is covered with outage dots. The state Public Utility Commission reports some 385,400 Pennsylvania homes are without electricity as of 4:00 PM Monday in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

PEMA: Quake Info Flowed Well

Aug 24, 2011

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) said coordination after Tuesday's earthquake went according to plan. The scope of the quake was small enough that PEMA allowed various state agencies, including PennDOT and the Public Utility Commission, as well as nuclear power plants, to work independently to send out status updates.

Consol Energy announced this week that it's selling half of its interest in Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to Houston-based Noble Energy for $3.4 billion. A local energy expert says that he expects such deals to continue. "The amount of available shale gas is so great that it's becoming beyond the ability of any company to develop its own acreage," said Kent Moors of the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Duquesne University.

The infant mortality rate rose by 7% in Pennsylvania since 2000 but the death rate among children ages 1 to 14 fell by 10%. Those are 2 of the 10 indicators examined in the 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book that tracks the well-being of children in each state and nationally.

A major Marcellus Shale drilling company is challenging an Allegheny County municipality's decision to restrict drilling. Last month officials in South Fayette Township approved an ordinance that requires drillers to obtain a land operations permit for each well, and it creates buffers around schools, hospitals and certain types of businesses.

PA Dems: Pass Impact Fee ASAP

Aug 11, 2011

Democrats in the Pennsylvania Senate are renewing their calls for an impact fee on Marcellus Shale natural gas wells to be passed this fall.

Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said he would support an impact fee measure that allows for job creation, but also helps to protect the environment from any negative effects of drilling.

Body Mounted Cameras Coming to The People

Aug 10, 2011

Motion-capture technology, used for movies like Avatar or Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, will someday be available to the general public. People will be able to record motion capture and will be able to feel physical sensations as they watch movies or play video games.

Large Natural Gas Plant Planned for WV

Aug 5, 2011

Natural gas suppliers who drill in the Marcellus Shale will be able to use a new processing facility by the start of 2013.

Dominion Resources has announced it will build a major natural gas processing facility in Natrium, in the panhandle of West Virginia. The $500 million project is slated for completion by the end of next year.

Dominion spokesman Dan Donovan said the plant will be the second of its kind for the energy company, more versatile than the sub-processing facilities currently used. It will be able to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas every day.

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